In this issue
- Salmon and Climate Change
- Governor Backs Conservation Areas on Oregon's North Coast Forests
- Russian-Oregon Watershed Council Exchange
- IUCN Sockeye Assessment Update
- Notes from the Field: My Month in Kamchatka as a Fisheries Expert
- Champion for Wild Salmon: Furgusson on the Salmonberry with Science that Counts
- Donor Profile: MOKAI Boats
- Partner Profile: LightHawk Making a Difference from about 1,000 feet up
- ALSO: Launch of "Visual Sockeye"; Taimen Workshop; Salmon Virus; Save the Salmon Festival, Dam Removal, Fishing in Alaska's Bristol Bay, and Stronghold Legislation Update.
Salmon and Climate Change
Conference explores practical management options for an era of environmental change
Portland, OR--State of the Salmon brought together 200 fishery resource managers, scientists, fishing industry representatives, community leaders and conservationists November 15-17 to explore issues and opportunities surrounding the theme -- Salmon in a Changing Climate. Participants traveled from as far away as China, Russia and the United Kingdom to discuss how emerging science about projected climate-induced changes in marine and freshwater ecosystems should inform salmon and steelhead conservation. The workshop focused on direct links between this emerging science and related salmon resource management needs and strategies.
The conference opened with presentations on the latest science regarding climate related environmental impacts. In the marine environment, Dr. Christopher Sabine presented evidence that ocean acidification resulting from the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere has increased 30% over the last 200 years and is putting food webs in the North Pacific at risk, creating considerable uncertainty for the future of salmon and other species.
"Ocean acidification impacts are already being felt and will have increasingly dramatic impacts on marine ecosystems in the future." - Dr. Christopher Sabine, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
For freshwater environments, current predictions are that salmon in the southern part of their range will be put at risk by higher water temperatures and lower flows. In the north, salmon may expand their range, but changes in timing of peak flows will put pressure on salmon to adapt, with uncertain consequences.
Diversity is key. Given the scope and magnitude of these changes, Dr. Daniel Schindler presented evidence that maintaining salmon genetic and life history diversity is critically important to protecting fisheries and the people that rely on them. For example, he showed how losing diversity results in more frequent fishery closures, even if the average return stays the same. The theme of protecting diversity to mitigate climate impacts and manage risk was reinforced throughout the conference.
"If you reduce the diversity in salmon stocks (i.e. overfishing and hatchery production), you reduce the capacity for adaptation, and you increase the probability of quasi-extinction." - Dr. Daniel Schindler, University of Washington
Conference participants then focused their discussions on specific case studies in three ecosystems—the Tongass (Southeast Alaska), Snohomish (Washington State) and Okanagan (British Columbia-US) basins. A clear theme across all of the case studies was the importance collaboration. Regional partnerships can help restoration efforts move beyond isolated restoration projects to building a package of actions that complement each other and make a difference on a larger scale.
Governor backs conservation areas on Oregon's North Coast forests
Governor John Kitzhaber addressed the Oregon Board of Forestry in early November and challenged them to seek "a visible and durable conservation area commitment in a scientifically meaningful manner." Kitzhaber called for setting aside conservation areas within the state forests where management would be free from a focus on commercial timber harvest. These protected areas would protect anchor habitat for salmon and other native wildlife, as well as areas for recreation.
Currently, the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests contain no significant tracts of land permanently off limits to logging and road-building. Earlier this year, an independent science review by Oregon State University's Institute for Natural Resources said the Department of Forestry’s plans to increase clearcutting and reduce protections for fish was not based on the best available science.
WSC and other conservation and fish protection organizations testified at the Board of Forestry meeting in support of protections for high-priority conservation areas in the Tillamook, Clatsop and other state forests. "We need conservation areas to ensure the long-term health of these forests and the salmon that depend on them," noted WSC's Bob Van Dyk. The Sierra Club presented a stack of more than 1,250 names of state forest users who signed a petition this summer calling for the creation of permanent protected areas on state forests. The Board agreed to put a higher emphasis on the issue in the 2012 work plan.
Stronghold legislation moves forward in U.S. Senate
In early November, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation reviewed the Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act (S. 1401) and reported the bill out of committee favorably, without amendment.
The salmon stronghold bill, introduced last July, is sponsored by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and the entire West Coast Senate delegation. It would create a new U.S. policy to focus federal resources on locally-supported, prevention-based strategies to conserve strong wild salmon populations and healthy watersheds before they decline. The legislation would address threats that transcend watershed boundaries, such as climate change and the proliferation of non-native species, and provide funding for proactive salmon conservation efforts at the watershed level."Thousands of jobs in Washington state and over a billion dollars in economic activity depend on healthy salmon populations. With this legislation moving one more step forward, we are working to ensure salmon continue to be a vital part of our economies and culture in the Pacific Northwest." –Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Deadly virus detected in Pacific salmon
Researchers from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia announced last October that they found evidence of the Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus in Pacific salmon. The virus was detected in two juvenile sockeye out of 48 smolts tested from B.C.'s central coast. ISA has caused devastating losses at salmon farms in Norway, Chile, and New Brunswick, Canada with infected farms losing 70% or more of their fish. Until now, the salmon-killing virus had never been reported on the U.S. West Coast.
Although deadly to Atlantic salmon, the virus cannot infect humans, bears or other warm-blooded animals that consume the fish. The effect of ISA on wild salmon is unknown. However, many salmon populations around the Pacific Northwest are already listed under the Endangered Species Act and any new threat could hamper efforts toward recovery.
In early November, researchers found additional evidence of the virus in three of ten dead fish pulled from B.C.'s Harrison River (a Chinook, coho and chum). Officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and the British Columbia Province retested the 48 central coast samples plus the Harrison River samples but were not able to repeat the results due to the degraded quality of the samples.
Information recently surfaced that a 10-year old study detected a non-lethal form of ISA in 117 wild salmon sampled from Southeast Alaska to Vancouver Island, B.C. The results were never published because DFO disputed the validity of the tests. When the researcher attempted to publish again after the recent discoveries, DFO denied the request.
State and federal scientists in the U.S. were greatly concerned by the mounting evidence of the presence of the virus in Pacific salmon populations and apparent lack of transparency by the Canadian Government, and agreed that more information was needed. Within days of news of the threat, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mark Begich (D-AK) introduced legislation that would require federal agencies to research the risks and threats that the virus poses to wild, hatchery and farmed Pacific salmon and report back on their findings within six months. The legislation passed both the U.S. Senate and House as part of the minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2112), and was signed into law by President Obama in late November. Washington State tested about 56,000 fish last year and so far has not found signs of infectious salmon anemia. However, with passage of the ISA legislation, research, surveillance and testing efforts will now be increased in the U.S.
Update: Canada's Cohen Commission, which was established to investigate the cause of the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon, has scheduled a special hearing in mid-December to review information regarding the possible presence of the ISA virus in B.C.
My month in Kamchatka as an independent fisheries expert
By Mihael Blikshteyn, Fisheries Biologist
Patches of brown grass and white snow stretched as far as I could see from a small helicopter window. The hour-long flight from Petropavlvsk-Kamchatsky, the main city on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East to Ozernaya, a tiny fishing town in southwest Kamchatka was taking me over an incredible landscape of volcanoes, rivers and forests.
The Ozernaya River sockeye fishery is the largest and most commercially significant sockeye salmon fishery in Asia. The headwaters of the Ozernaya River are in the South Kamchatka Strict Nature Reserve, one of the crown jewels of the Russian protected area system. WSC and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are now working in partnership with the commercial fishing companies in the lower river to ensure best fishing practices and the sustainability of this magnificent salmon resource. Recently, two Ozernaya fishing companies, Vityaz-Avto and Delta, entered the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessment process -- a first for Kamchatka. If successful, the Ozernaya fishery will be recognized as sustainable by the world’s leading third party certification system. During the pre-assessment process, several data and observation gaps were identified, including the need for an independent on-the-ground expert to set up a bycatch monitoring program. The two fishing companies agreed to host an independent expert and provide all necessary information required for the MSC assessment process.
As a fisheries expert, I was making my first trip back to Russia in 20 years, and my first trip ever to Russia's remote and captivating Kamchatka Peninsula. My job was to observe the sockeye salmon fisheries on the ground, to get a better sense of the companies' fishing philosophy and practices. I was also to monitor for any poaching activities and official anti-poaching efforts, as well as any other illegal or questionable activities. I wanted to engage community members and local stakeholders to assess the companies’ fishing activities and learn of any concerns the community might have.
One of my main responsibilities as a fisheries expert was to help the companies set up a program to systematically collect and record data on non-commercial species caught in coastal trap nets and in-river beach seines – the two types of gear typically used by fishing companies to catch sockeye returning to the Ozernaya River. These data are required as part of the MSC assessment. I had the opportunity to observe both methods.
A beach seine (see photo above) set starts with one end of the net held by a couple of fishermen upstream and the other deployed from a skiff (fishing regulations prohibit blocking more than 2/3 of the river channel). Once the net is set, a group of a dozen fishermen concentrate the fish by pulling the upstream end of the net toward shore, working their way downstream. Half way through, a truck on the downstream end of the net pulls the rest of the net out.
Coastal set nets (see photo left) are a passive form of fishing where the net is set perpendicular to the shore line in the path of returning salmon and leads them into a double trap. Funnel entrances prevent fish from escaping. Each set net is served by a boat. When fish are sufficiently concentrated, they are scooped by a brail, attached to a power winch on the main boat.
After first-hand observations of the coastal trap and in-river beach seine fisheries, I concluded that the best practical locations to collect bycatch data were at the sorting lines of the fish-processing plants. There, one person would be assigned per shift to collect all bycatch and sort them into baskets according to the two fishing methods where they could then be counted.
One of my goals was to document any illegal fishing activities I observed along the Ozernaya River. During my visit I became acquainted with Ozernaya's chief anti-poaching officer, Leonid Zaharov, a retired police officer who has worked on the river for several summers and knows it well. Zaharov’s anti-poaching brigade monitors the river almost daily during season, driving along the river to the border of the Kronskiy zakaznik, a federally protected reserve around the sockeye salmon spawning grounds (with their own anti-poaching brigades). I was fortunate to be able to accompany him on one of his trips. We came across a small group fishing with hand-held lines and Zaharov and his assistant confiscated their gear and politely explained that fishing regulations don’t allow for personal or sport take of salmon on Ozernaya River. Zaharov later explained that for small violations like this, education was the best method of deterrence.
A bounty of sockeye
At the end of July, all fishing activity was suspended for sockeye salmon around Ozernaya River, in order to ensure enough fish were reaching their spawning grounds upstream. The suspension happened to coincide with the peak sockeye salmon run -- good news for visiting WWF Kamchatka fisheries biologist Anatoly Dekshtein. Anatoly and I decided to monitor the salmon run to see if there were any illegal fishing activities by walking the lower 10 km of the river, where most commercial fishing occurs. Along the river we saw hundreds of sockeye salmon resting in slower waters by the river banks and a steady, paced stream of sockeye salmon moving upstream. It takes about 4 days for fish to reach Kuril Lake from the river mouth and on the day we were there more than 350,000 sockeye salmon were counted moving into the lake, one of the largest such surges in recent history. It was inspiring to see such a bounty of wild sockeye and be reminded of the importance of supporting sustainable fisheries so we can ensure that wild salmon continue to return in such great numbers.
Russian-Oregon watershed council exchange
Nine representatives from the newly formed network of Public Salmon Councils in Sakhalin, Khabarovsk, and Kamchatka, Russia participated in this year's exchange -- the first time representatives from all three regions in the Russian Far East were able to convene at the same time.
The representatives met with state and federal government representatives, tribal representatives, educators, and local conservationists. The purpose of the exchange was to share with the Russians best practices in watershed stewardship and management from established, successful U.S. watershed council models, and in turn the U.S. participants could learn more about the issues facing Russian watershed councils and the methods used for addressing their challenges.
Community involvement was an integral theme for the week, allowing the Russian participants to learn different strategies for mobilizing local citizens. Aside from numerous presentations, council meetings, and discussions, the participants spent several days in the field visiting river restoration and education projects. A trip to the Karnowsky Creek Restoration Project with Johnny Sundstrom from the Siuslaw Institute and Paul Burns, a Fishery Biologist with the US Forest Service, provided a good model for the Russian council members on freshwater habitat restoration. They also visited with Mary’s River Watershed Council and with the Westwind Stewardship Group, which maintains a 529-acre nature reserve at the mouth of the Salmon River. In addition, the Russian delegates were able to meet with the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, as well as the Siletz Tribe, where they learned about the Tribes fishing techniques and how they intersect with the natural environment.
The group was treated to a lake canoe trip in a traditional 21-foot long dugout canoe to a small campsite for a ceremonial salmon-bake offered by the Confederated Tribes. At the ceremony, the chief offered a deerskin drum made by one of the young men of the tribe as a gift. Olga Emenka, representative of the indigenous people of North Khabarovsk and member of the Koppi River watershed council, accepted the drum and used it as a fan to waft smoke from the burning salmon around the circle to bless the group. She then began beating the drum, singing and dancing around the circle. It truly was a special and unifying moment for the Russians, Native Americans, and all present.
The exchange greatly strengthened understanding and camaraderie between the Russian councils and also with Oregon councils, paving the way for future collaborations. Moreover, the councils learned from their counterparts here in Oregon the importance of a unified effort and created the Russian Far East Council Network to serve as a resource to the individual councils so they could learn from and support one another.
LightHawk: Making a difference from about 1,000 feet up
Everything looks just a little bit different from the seat of a one-engine Cessna plane thousands of feet in the air. That new perspective is exactly what LightHawk strives to make available to its partners. LightHawk is a volunteer-based environmental aviation organization that provides donated flights to conservation groups to help them make headway on their work. Whether monitoring a restoration project, identifying areas hard hit by clear-cutting, or simply trying to get a bird's eye view of a region's most productive habitat, LightHawk values a problem-solving approach that considers the needs of both human society and the natural world.
On a clear early-fall day when the trees were just starting to turn their beautiful shades of gold and red, three WSC staff members, and volunteer pilot and LightHawk Board member Jane Nicolai climbed on board her 4-seater Cessna Cardinal 177RG and headed for the majestic rivers and mountains of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. In tow was Washington Program Manager Devona Ensmenger -- who best knows the stories behind each river and coastline, Fisheries Biologist Mihael Blikshteyn -- who was enjoying the opportunity to show off his photography skills from new heights, and Communications Manager Lori Howk who organized the venture. In a matter of a couple of hours they photographed what would have taken them days by car: the coasts of Washington, the Quinault, Queets, Hoh, and Quillayute, passing over project site areas as far south as the Bear River and north to the Clearwater River and beyond. From such heights the crew was able to see how the landscape had changed over the years from development and logging, which rivers were still allowed to flow free -- unencumbered by dams or obstructions, and rich, intact salmon rivers with bends, twists and floodplains stretching into the distance as far as the eye could see.
WSC began work in the Hoh River (pictured above) in 1999 as part of a team to assess salmon distribution and habitat status. We supported land acquisitions based on our assessments and worked with partners to establish the Hoh River Trust. Today, over 7,000 acres are permanently protected from the mouth's river to the headwaters.
Wild Salmon Center would like to thank LightHawk for this unique opportunity to capture these amazing photos of the Hoh and other great salmon rivers of the Olympic Peninsula. To see more photos, go to Wild Salmon Center's Facebook page.
MOKAI Manufacturing Inc.: State-of-the-art anti-poaching watercraft
Last year MOKAI Manufacturing, Inc. generously donated two of its lightweight and highly maneuverable watercraft to the WSC to support Pacific salmon conservation efforts in Russia's remote Kamchatka Peninsula. The boats were shipped to Kamchatka, where they are being used by the Kronotsky Strict Nature Reserve, part of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka World Heritage Site. The Kronotsky Nature Reserve includes two territories covering nearly 1.5 million hectares with a range of pristine ecosystems that support viable populations of all seven species of Pacific salmon, brown bear, Steller's sea eagles and more.
In the summer of 2011, rangers from Kronotsky used the crafts to monitor conservation efforts and patrol the Ozernaya and Kronotskaya rivers, which support thriving salmon runs. Ozernaya River, part of the Kuril Lake watershed, hosts the largest sockeye spawning area in Asia and is particularly attractive to poachers. The MOKAI watercraft allowed the rangers to patrol previously inaccessible areas of the river thanks to the craft’s ability to navigate shallow waters without getting stuck on the bottom. Because they are powered by a jet pump and do not use propellers, MOKAI watercraft minimize damage to spawning salmon or their nests (redds). The rangers were able to cruise quietly downriver and ambush poachers and help prevent violations. The rangers were also pleased that the MOKAI are highly fuel efficient, allowing them to travel over 100 km on just one tank of gas. The strong polyethylene hull even withstood the claws and teeth of curious bears.
Wild Salmon Center is grateful to MOKAI for their contribution to our efforts to conserve viable salmon populations in priority rivers of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. To learn more about MOKAI, please visit: www.mokai.com.
Ian has spent the last 18 years conducting fish surveys on Oregon's North Coast, primarily on the Salmonberry River. He is currently on the Board of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders where he learned of WSC's work on forest policy.
How did you get started in your work with salmon conservation?
In 1993 I joined the Oregon Trout Steelhead Committee and learned they were looking for volunteers to help with winter steelhead spawning ground surveys on the Salmonberry River, a tributary of the Nehalem River in northwest Oregon. Looking back I can see I had no idea how passionate I would become about it, nor how much of my life it would consume. Oregon Trout has moved on, but the volunteer spawning surveys are still going on. We also conduct summertime temperature monitoring, and periodic macroinvertebrate surveys.
I’m normally not one to engage politically. I much prefer wading the remote reaches of the Salmonberry, counting redds and paying attention to the health of the watershed. But it was that same attention to the watershed that led me to a deeper understanding of the connections between land use and fish habitat.
In the Salmonberry, the dominant land uses are timber harvest, and a now-defunct railroad. Two major storm events—in 1996 and 2007—dramatically pointed out the effects that both those uses can have on watershed health. In 2008, I joined the Board of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, as they were looking for someone to help with resource and conservation issues, particularly forest management. That led to my connection with the Wild Salmon Center, where Bob Van Dyk keeps an eagle eye on forest policy and does an excellent job of reaching out and informing those of us with an interest in the issues.
Why are wild salmon important to you and your community?
Wild salmon are important at nearly any level where I would try to define “community”: they connect land and sea throughout the Pacific Rim, and in this region they are a dominant component of any view you’d care to take, whether economic, ecological, recreational, or spiritual.
On a personal level, even though I am retired from a 30-year insurance career, I look at my work on behalf of fish as my true life’s work..
What do you hope to accomplish?
Two of my short-term goals involve a single watershed: the Salmonberry River. There is a large tract of private land in the headwaters that is marginal for timber production due to steep slopes, but is nevertheless being logged and roaded. The owner has expressed an interest in selling. I’d like to work with the Board of Forestry to help the state acquire the land and make it part of the Tillamook State Forest. The other goal involves the possibility of Oregon State Parks or other public entity acquiring the right-of-way to the defunct railroad that runs most of the length of the Salmonberry. This move would take the right-of-way out of the commercial realm.
A third short-term goal is to help influence state forest management to allow the creation of conservation reserve areas, and give conservation equal weight with timber production.
Long-term, I’d like to see large areas managed to allow salmon to persist into the next century and beyond. Salmon are creatures defined by abundance, and I’d like to see obstacles removed so they have a chance to express the abundance again. I think it’s as much a matter of getting out of their way as anything else.
What challenges have you come up against along the way?
With respect to land use policies, the chief barrier is the economic argument—some interests are very adept at framing the conversation as jobs vs. the environment. They present a powerful emotional argument, particularly when jobs are scarce. Overcoming that single-minded approach calls for putting an emphasis on the economic and social values of healthy fish populations and clean water, and continually coming back to the science that connects land use practices with watershed health. It helps when we frame our position as pro-fish rather than anti-logging. We can have both strong environmental protections and forest jobs.
Regarding the work itself, conducting spawning surveys and other data collection is physically demanding work. The major challenge is finding and motivating a core group of volunteers who are willing to keep coming back year after year.
What would you say to people who are looking to volunteer?
Once the volunteers are out in the field, the fish are the best motivators. No one who has watched a pair of steelhead spawning, or jumping a 10-foot waterfall, will ever look at them the same again. We still have people participating who were part of the original group. We have a few people who first joined us last year and found it so much fun they have signed up for every survey this spring, plus the temperature monitoring and macroinvertebrate sampling. While I’m committed to providing usable, reliable data, I’m more and more seeing this project as an opportunity to educate and create ambassadors for wild fish.
If you're interested in volunteering, contact Ian at 503-957-8875 or Ian.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sweet sounds of dam removal in the Pacific Northwest
By Mitchell Attig
The below article is a follow-up to an article published in Russian Fly Fishing magazine in summer 2011 that featured the deconstruction and eventual breaching of the Marmot Dam on the Sandy River outside of Portland, Oregon. Mitchell Attig served as an intern for the Western Pacific Program at the Wild Salmon Center in 2011. He is a native of the Pacific Northwest and has a great passion for salmon conservation, as he grew up fishing as much as possible. He graduated in 2011 from the University of Oregon with a focus on the Environmental Sciences and Conservation.
Hiking through the tall firs and hemlocks of the Olympic Peninsula in the far northwest corner of Washington, the silence is broken by the faraway rumble of heavy equipment. Walk on, and you hear the beep, beep, beep of backup horns, the screech of ripping metal and the crunch of pulverized stone. At any other time over the past century in the Pacific Northwest, this dreaded chorus would have meant only one thing: This perfect forest, this beautiful, free-flowing river full of salmon, was being dammed.
But this is not the Pacific Northwest of a century ago. This is a new place, a new more environmentally conscious time, and the construction noises you hear hiking alongside the Elwha River and headed deeper into the Olympics are not the sounds of destruction, but rather deconstruction, dam breaching, and most of all, recovery. As you round a final twist in the trail, what you discover is not a high wall of concrete, a hydroelectric dam, but a river that has been cut loose, freed, a river being restored to its natural state. Read More.
November -- The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) completed an amendment to the 2008 Red List assessment for Pacific sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). In the amendment, the species global status remains the same (Least Concern), but it was found that 31% of assessed subpopulations are considered threatened against IUCN criteria (see sidebar). Further, 32% of all extant subpopulations are considered Data Deficient, and hence their status is not known.
State of the Salmon has been working in conjunction with the IUCN Salmonid Specialist Group (led by WSC Senior Conservation Biologist Pete Rand) over the last eight years to systematically catalogue the tremendous biodiversity of Pacific salmon, identify important knowledge gaps, and assess the overall condition of wild salmon based on international standards. A full description of the results of the amendment can be found on the IUCN Red List site. In addition, a special website, "Visual Sockeye", has been launched that provides an engaging summary of the results and allows the user to fully explore the data used in the assessment.
See sockeye in a whole new way! Check out our new Visual Sockeye web application where you can explore the data historically, hydrographically, or in clusters.
This project is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
David Finkel of the Wild Salmon Center was invited by WSC intern Perry Broderick to Alaska's Bristol Bay last summer to spend a week fishing with the Broderick family and crew, who have been set-net fishing in Bristol Bay for over 20 years. The Brodericks fish out of Nushagak Point, which is accessible by boat from Dillingham, and is the site of a seasonal commercial fishing village that has existed for hundreds of years. At one point, Nushagak Point was home to multiple salmon canneries and served as a whaling port.
The Bristol Bay watershed is one of the most important wild salmon fisheries in the world with an average of 33 million salmon returning to its rivers each year, which in turn support robust commercial, recreational, and subsistence communities and economies. Bristol Bay's wild salmon also support at least 138 animal species, including brown bear, killer whales, and bald eagles, and provide vital marine-derived nutrients to Bristol Bay's freshwater ecosystems. WSC is leading the development of a technical report that will evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine on the Bristol Bay watershed and its extraordinary wild salmon runs. The report will be published in early 2012.
Aukland, New Zealand -- Experts gathered in December for the first international workshop on taimen, hosted by WSC to discuss the challenges and opportunities to protect the largest salmonids in the world. Taimen are under increasing threat from overfishing, poaching, habitat loss, and climate change. Through this and other partnership efforts, we hope to increase public awareness, motivate new research, and encourage new conservation actions to protect these ancient and magnificent fish. More on the results of this workshop to come.
On a cold, wet weekend in November, fishermen, educators, local community, government officials and NGOs gathered in the warmth of the Ust-Bolsheretsk district's House of Culture in Kamchatka for a one day festival highlighting salmon.
The goal of the "Save the Salmon" festival was to bring together people who recognize salmon as a shared and valued resource, who can influence salmon management and conservation, and are aware of their responsibility to future generations. Participants enjoyed performances by the Nugur indigenous ensemble, an exhibition of "The Great Salmon Rivers of Kamchatka" created by WSC, and additional exhibits and presentations from representatives of the Kol River Nature Preserve and Komandorsky Protected Area. The mini-festival was a success with over 180 attendees learning about the council operation and activities in their district. For the summer of 2012 they are planning an even larger 2-day "Save the Salmon" event.